Authorities have sent hundreds of police reinforcements into some of Rio de Janeiro’s toughest slums to help quell a growing conflict between law enforcement and suspected drug traffickers, testing the government’s efforts to ensure public safety.
Around 300 officers have been deployed to Complexo do Alemão, a sprawling collection of hillside slums, or favelas, on the city’s north side, where drug traffickers have been engaged in daily shootouts with authorities, Rio police said Tuesday.
Suspected criminals in the area have launched several attacks on police over the past week, one which resulted in the death of an 18-year-old suspected gunman on Sunday. The show of police force now is aimed at restoring calm as terrified residents report hearing gunfire at all hours.
Residents fear the violence signals the unraveling of the Rio government’s so-called pacification campaign, which since 2008 has aimed to expel drug traffickers from favelas and impose order in with special “pacifying police units,” or UPPs.